Sunday, December 16, 2018

Gats Hackett - Greatest Shot in the Underworld

Gats Hackett is the leader of a minor New York gang in The Shadow's Shadow (February 1, 1933) story.  Even though he leads a minor gang, he plays a big part in the story!  Gats Hackett is working with Douglas Carleton and international crook Felix Zubian in a plot to steal diamonds.  The three know that they need to get rid of The Shadow.

The physical description of Gats is that he is a little chunky, but has a firm face with crude features that gave him a wolfish expression.  His mannerisms were crude as well.  Another telling description of this gangster is that he has an evil heart and fiendish spirit.  In the underworld, Gats was famous for his aim and was known as the greatest shot in the underworld.

Gats got his moniker because of the two gats he carried, sometimes in a briefcase but mostly in shoulder holsters.  His weapons of choice were described as huge .45 revolvers.  These two gats of Gats, along with his excellent aim, were his gangdom claim to fame.

Gats puts his revolvers to work several times in the story.  The first time is when he springs a trap on The Shadow and chases him down in a spectacular car chase.  Gats empties his guns into the car The Shadow was driving, only to learn The Shadow had escaped.  The next time he unleashes his twin smoke wagons are when he sets up a hit on Lamont Cranston in the Holland Tunnel.  Once again Gats unleashes his .45s only to find he's missed his prey.  The final time he uses his guns is at the end of the story when he faces off against The Shadow.  I'll tell about that in just a moment!

The trio of villains (Gats, Douglas Carleton, and Felix Zubian) had learned that Harry Vincent and Rutledge Mann were agents of The Shadow.  Gats and his gang kidnap Vincent and Mann so that Gats can make them talk and tell him who The Shadow is.  Gats has constructed a device to help persuade them to talk!  Rutledge Mann is laying down face-up on a guillotine like contraption while Harry Vincent is suspended above him and facing down towards Mann.  They have 12 minutes to talk or Mann's head will be cut off while Harry Vincent helplessly watches!  The Shadow saves Vincent and Mann and wipes out Gats' gang in the process.  Gats escapes to the taunting laugh of The Shadow.  Here's how the story describes it.  "Governed by mad fear, Gats Hackett turned and dashed away to safety...Terror had gripped his fiendish spirit.  Behind him came a new sound - a weird mockery that chilled the gang leader's veins.  The laugh of The Shadow!"

With his gang wiped out and a jewel heist still needing to be carried out, Gats recruits a new gang.  Unbeknownst to Gats, one of his new gang recruits is none other than Cliff Marsland, agent of The Shadow!

Gats faces off against The Shadow one final time.  Once again another gun battle between Gats' gang and The Shadow is on, and The Shadow is making an exit climbing down the side of the building.  Gats sees him and figures he has the drop on The Shadow.  Gats takes aim with his smoke wagons but one shot from The Shadow's automatic ends the life of Gats Hackett.

I did some research on .45 revolvers in the 1930s.  While I have no solid proof, I'd like to think that Gats Hackett's revolvers were the M1917 .45 revolvers made by either Smith and Wesson or Colt.  The M1917 was manufactured for our soldiers fighting in World War 1.  After the war, these revolvers became popular with both civilians and law enforcement agencies.  In the second picture below, you see the M1917 revolver next to the M1911 .45 automatic (which I believe is the weapon The Shadow carried.).  The revolver is a bit bigger than the automatic.  The M1917 was a large framed revolver and that is close to fitting the description of Gats' weapons. 

M1917 .45 revolver (L)  M1911 .45 automatic (R)

I really enjoyed reading about Gats Hackett.    He almost bumped off Lamont Cranston and two of The Shadow's agents.  He was a tough opponent for The Shadow and a compelling character in The Shadow's Shadow story.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

The Shadow: Historical Background 1929 - 1931

This past week I learned that the Dick Tracy comic strip was first published on October 4, 1931 - that's just 6 months after the first issue of The Shadow was published (April 1, 1931).  As I thought about these two fictional crime fighters, I started digging into what was happening in the US at this time that made The Shadow and Dick Tracy so popular.  In my opinion, part of their appeal and popularity can be attributed to real life crime stories that were ever present in the headlines.  Maybe the American public had enough of gangsters and wanted to read about crime fighters putting an end to them and their nefarious ways.

In this article I wanted to put a spotlight on what was happening in the years from 1929 through 1931.  I want to paint a background picture of what was going on when The Shadow pulp magazine began to be published in 1931.  What newsworthy events captured the headlines and the attention of Americans in those years?  Here are some of the events and facts!


  • Herbert Hoover is President, having beaten Alfred E. Smith in the election of 1928.
  • February 14, 1929:  The St Valentine's Day Massacre happens in Chicago when 7 members of the Northside gang are gunned down by henchmen of mobster Al Capone.
  • October 29, 1929:  The US stock market crashed and this marked the beginning of the Great Depression which lasted for 12 years.  Both the US and Europe were impacted.
  • The Broadway Melody was the top money-making movie in 1929 and also won the Academy Award for Best Picture.


  • The planet Pluto is discovered.
  • The Castellammarese War erupts in New York City to see who will control the Italian-American mafia
  • Mahatma Gandhi begins his campaign of civil disobedience in India.
  • Birds Eye frozen food products are introduced in 18 retail stores in Springfield, MA.
  • Gang wars continue in Chicago between rival factions including Al Capone's.
  • Cartoon character Betty Boop makes her debut.
  • All Quiet On The Western Front won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Betty Boop


  • US unemployment reaches over 16%.
  • Droughts, soil erosion and dust storms in the mid-west create the beginning of the Dust Bowl.
  • The Empire State Building is completed and opens for business.
  • The Star Spangled Banner becomes our national anthem.
  • Eliot Ness and his agents ("The Untouchables") begin raids against illegal breweries and stills (impacting the pockets of Al Capone!).
  • Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi and Frankenstein, starring Boris Karloff premier in US theaters.
  • Dick Tracy comic strip begins.
  • April 1, 1931 - The Shadow magazine publishes its first issue!

These are just a few of the events that happened between 1929 and 1931.  Wow, what a time it was.  I hope this brief article helps you frame a backdrop of the world that The Shadow magazine entered in 1931.  

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Power to Cloud Men's Minds!

The Shadow character in Shadow Comics is able to make himself invisible by using hypnotic powers.  In Shadow Comics #11, we have the first instance of The Shadow becoming invisible.  Then, it Shadow Comics #12, it's revealed that he learned this "trick" in Tibet!   

However, in Shadow Comics #71 (published December 27, 1946*) in the story "The Black Pagoda" we are given more details on The Shadow's invisibility powers.  In the opening page of that story we are told, "Bound on his first post-war trip to Tibet, where, under the tutelage of The Great Lama, he learned the secret of clouding men's minds..."  Now we know that after the War (this must be referring to World War 1), Lamont Cranston traveled to Tibet and was taught the mesmeric trick of invisibility from The Great Lama.

In Nostalgia Ventures Shadow #4, there is a reprint of an an article that originally appeared in Shadow Comics volume 2, number 7, October 1942 (This would be Shadow Comics #19, published on August 28, 1942*).  The article was entitled, "A Plea" and gave more detailed information on The Shadow of the comic books and how he gained the power of invisibility.  The article begins, "In the unending, daily, deadly war which The Shadow wages on the underworld, he has three weapons.  They are his brains, cool, clear and unique in its ability to extract information from the tiniest bit of evidence.  His miraculous ability with guns is the result of a naturally good eye, a strong pair of wrists and constant practice.  The third is his ability to cloud men's minds so that, to all intents and purposes, he becomes invisible."

The article tells us that, for reasons that cannot be shared, The Shadow traveled to the forbidden city of Lhassa in Tibet.  It is there that he encountered a great power - a collection of 10 minds that projected themselves in the image of a young boy.  This great power presented The Shadow with the ability to become invisible.  The Shadow is told, "Because your life is clear, and devoted to the good of mankind, we endow you with the power to cloud men's minds.  Men will think you are invisible.  It is a potent weapon, and one that you must use with care."**

In the comic books, The Shadow learned his powers of invisibility in the forbidden city of Lhassa in Tibet!  There is a bit of a continuity issue between Shadow Comics #19 and #71.  According to issue #19, a collection of 10 minds gave him the power but in #71 it is The Great Lama who gives him the power.  Maybe this can be resolved by thinking that The Great Lama is the same as the 10 minds!?!

From a historical background, Tibet was the focus of pop culture in the early 1940s as a man by the name of Theos Bernard had returned to the United States in the late 1930s after spending time in India and Tibet.  Theos Bernard claimed he was the first white lama (teacher) and published books and articles on his experiences in Tibet.  It could be due to Bernard's popularity The Shadow comics decided Lamont Cranston had also made a trip to Tibet!!

In the 1994 The Shadow movie, Lamont Cranston had fought in World War I and after the war had gone missing for 7 years.  Those missing seven years were spent traveling the world and eventually settling in Tibet as an opium dealer.  Lamont Cranston is kidnapped by a Tibetan holy man, a Tulku, who taught him to cloud men's minds, to fog their vision through the force of concentration, leaving visible the only thing he can never hide..his Shadow.  

This is interesting in that both in the comic and the movie, Lamont Cranston learns how to make himself invisible from a spiritual leader in Tibet.  

*Mike's Amazing World of Comics
**Gibson, Walter B., Tollin, Anthony, Murray, Will, 2007, "The Murder Master" and "The Hydra" Two Classic Adventures of The Shadow, pp 68-69, Nostalgia Ventures, Inc.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Shadow Club (1994) Membership Kit

One of the tie-ins to the 1994 The Shadow movie was a Shadow Club membership.  The club was advertised in the official movie magazine and other places as well.  I was able to get a membership kit and would like to share its contents with you!

The Shadow Club membership came in an envelope marked "CONFIDENTIAL FOR YOUR EYES ONLY" in all red and had the image of The Shadow Club in the lower left.  Interestingly, the return address for the club was G.A.R.C. Inc out of Orlando, Florida.  The club newsletter indicates that the Great American Ring Club (GARC) seemed to be running and responsible for the club.

Issue 1 (January 1995) of The Shadow News was included.  I was pretty impressed with the newsletter as it has noted Shadow scholars/historians such as Anthony Tollin and Will Murray as contributors.  Will Murray contributes an article entitled "Fiery Opal" which gives the historical background of The Shadow's girasol ring.  There are also facts about The Shadow movie, a chronology of The Shadow in print and some other good little articles.  

Shadow Club members also received a Certificate of Membership certifying them as an "authorized and accredited agent" of the club.  Agents signed the lower right portion and The Shadow's signature is on the lower left!

Once you've signed the Certificate of Membership, you can start flashing your Special Agent membership card.  

Club members received an "autographed" picture of The Shadow.  I wrote more about it here.

The Shadow Club also had a secret code.  There were six variations of the code printed on a small (4 1/4" X 5 1/2") card.  

The final pieces of the membership kit were The Shadow Club ring and badge (button).  

I don't know if there were ever any further issues of The Shadow Club newsletter printed and sent out.  Also, I'm not sure how long the club stayed in existence after the movie premiered.  These are things that I'm looking to see if I can find some answers!

The Shadow Club membership kit would have been something fun and exciting for a kid to have received in the mail.  I was excited when I was finally able to find one complete!  I hope you've enjoyed this brief look at another tie-in to the 1994 The Shadow movie!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Romanoff Jewels? Not Quite!!!

This weekend my family and I went to an International Festival held in Raleigh, NC.  We really enjoyed it and we will definitely go back.  As we were walking around the different booths, we came across the one for Russia.  I immediately began to wonder if they would have anything about Tsar Nicholas from The Shadow stories The Red Menace and The Romanoff Jewels.  I began searching for a clew among the items they had for sale!

Then I found it!  Nestled among the Russian nesting dolls was a nesting doll featuring the Romanoffs!  It featured Tsar Nicholas, Empress Alexandra and their son Alexei.  When you opened it up, inside were paintings of Nicholas' daughters.  I found it sitting between nesting dolls of Putin and Lenin!

Here is a picture of the Romanoff nesting doll with a partial view of Putin on the left and Lenin on the right and various other nesting dolls around it.  The second picture I cropped out some of the other dolls to exclusively look at the Romanoffs.  I wish I had taken more pictures, especially of the inside dolls.  

While this was nowhere near a great discovery like the Romanoff jewels, it was still a small connection to history and a connection to two of my favorite Shadow stories!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

"Autographed" Photo of The Shadow!

One collector's item I've been on the trail for is an "autographed" picture of The Shadow from the 1994 movie.  I had seen pictures of it and as I researched the picture I learned that it was part of The Shadow Club membership kit for the movie.  After a lot of searching and looking, I was finally able to get a complete Shadow Club membership and the much coveted Shadow picture!  

Here's a scan of the picture I received.  It's in pretty good shape, just a few slight dents and minor crinkles.  It is a 5" X 7" picture of The Shadow and his two .45 automatics.  If you've seen the movie you'll recognize that this is a scene from the beginning of the film when The Shadow rescues Dr. Roy Tam.  The picture also features The Shadow's "autograph."

I'll write more about the membership kit in a future article!  


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Historical Background - The Lunch Wagon

One thing I really enjoy is digging into the history from a Shadow story.  From learning some of the slang from the times or other aspects of life in the 1930s and 1940s it is always a lot of fun and I end up learning a lot.  This article will look at a small part of the very first Shadow story, "The Living Shadow" that published in April of 1931.

In "The Living Shadow" we have a villain named English Johnny who is also in the lunch wagon business.  Not only does English Johnny play a part in the story, there's also some great action that takes place in one of English Johnny's lunch wagons that involves The Shadow!  What in the world is a lunch wagon?  That's what I wondered as I read the story so I had to investigate!

To some degree, lunch wagons started out as the food trucks of the late 1800s and early 1900s.  In 1872, Walter Scott parked a covered wagon in front of a newspaper office in Providence, Rhode Island and sold food items out of it to reporters and others.  In New York City in 1893, the Church Temperance Society operated a lunch wagon from 7:30pm to 4:30am and offered warm food and beverages to workers in the hopes of keeping them out of the saloons.  

1893 magazine cover featuring a lunch wagon

A lunch wagon complaint from 1907

Lunch wagons began to be massed produced and started including stoves, sinks, refrigerators and places for customers to sit.  Several manufacturers built them and an enterprising person could purchase one and go into the lunch wagon business for themselves!

As time went on, lunch wagons became less mobile and more stationary.  Based on the action that takes place in The Shadow story, the picture below is what I imagine English Johnny's lunch wagon looked like!

That's just a brief look at the history of the lunch wagon!  I hope it adds some background perspective whenever you read about them in the pages of The Shadow!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Cry Shadow!

Cry Shadow! was the fourth Shadow paperback published by Belmont Books.   It was published on April 1, 1965.  Dennis Lynds authored the book and used the Maxwell Grant pen-name on the cover.

Compared with the other two Shadow stories I've read by Dennis Lynds, it wasn't as good as Shadow Beware.  I'm not saying it was a bad story or there was no action, it was good and well written, but just not as suspenseful and action-packed as Shadow Beware.  

Let me give a spoiler alert before I get into a brief review of the story.  I'm going to reveal information about the characters and the ending, so if you don't want to know them until after you read the book yourself, you may want to skip the next section!

The story begins with The Shadow stopping two thieves in an art gallery.  They are attempting to steal a pretty worthless statue, compared to anything else they could have taken!  While The Shadow questions the two thieves, one of them is killed by a poison dart.  That sets the story in motion as The Shadow discovers that the murdered two-bit art thief was actually a master craftsman at creating counterfeit money plates!  The Shadow uncovers an international counterfeit money ring, being run out of an old WWII German U Boat off the coast of New England.  An art gallery was shipping the counterfeit currency (American, Russian, etc.) around the world in hollowed out boards of its shipping crates.  By the end of the story, the counterfeiters are either dead or captured, the U Boat is sunk, and the counterfeit ring has been smashed by The Shadow!

The Shadow:
We learn a few new things about The Shadow and there is one big revelation about his past.  The minor things we learn are he uses both his mental powers and a special ointment to aid in the healing and recovery of two broken fingers.  He learned safecracking and lock picking techniques from Walter Pettibone.  The Shadow can speak most languages of the world.

The big revelation we have about The Shadow is found on pages 91 and 92 where it's revealed that Cranston served with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War II!  The OSS was an intelligence gathering organization of the United States that was founded in June 1942 and was dissolved in September of 1945.  It was the predecessor of the CIA.  We are told that Lamont Cranston had been a Colonel in the OSS and had "done much work against the forces of Facism in the war." (page 92)  On one mission, he had slipped into the heart of Japan aboard a PT boat!  This is awesome and interesting background!  In the Belmont book series, Lamont Cranston is always described as having blonde hair with some gray in it.  Supposing he was 20 years old when he joined the OSS in the early 1940's, he would be in his mid to late 40s during the time these stories take place (mid 1960s).   

The Shadow's sanctum is hidden in his offices as Lamont Cranston.  It is here - lighted only with a blue light - that The Shadow does much of his communicating with his agents.

In this story The Shadow uses the disguises of Lamont Cranston, and for the first time in this series he uses the disguise of Henry Arnaud!  Shadow fans will recognize that name as it is one of the frequent disguises used by The Shadow in the pulp stories.  Henry Arnaud is described as a business man and financier.  The Shadow uses a makeup kit to disguise himself as Arnaud.  Arnaud is taller than The Shadow and Lamont Cranston, so The Shadow wears special built up shoes to be taller.  Then, with special putty and fluid from a hypodermic needle injected beneath his skin, The Shadow molds his face to look like Arnaud's.  "...the broken and broad nose of Henry Arnaud appeared.  The nose was the result of Arnaud's early boxing career, and was well known to the world." (page 105)  The Shadow uses a special bridge to elongate his jaw, and special tape to make his left eye droop (another of Arnaud's boxing injuries!).  He uses a special dye to make his hair almost white.  "Finally, clenching his fist and narrowing his left hand with the plasticity of bone and sinew he learned from his years of yoga, he slipped on the ugly artificial hand, the reported result of losing his left hand in an automobile accident twenty years ago."


Margo Lane.  Margo is described as The Shadow's most trusted agent.  She goes undercover twice in this story.  First, as Molly, a prostitute who becomes the girlfriend of a criminal The Shadow is tracking.  Second, as Ellen Morgan, secretary to Henry Arnaud (one of The Shadow's alter-egos).

Burbank.  Burbank does his usual role of facilitating communication between The Shadow and his agents.  We learn he records all agent reports and maintains these records.  He does deep investigation into records for The Shadow.

Stanley.  Stanley chauffers Lamont Cranston around in his Rolls Royce.  He's described as one of The Shadow's most trusted agents.

Moe Shrevnitz.  Shrevvy is described as small and peppery and wears a leather cap.  In this story he is used by The Shadow as a look out and observer while in his taxi cab.

These are the only agents in this book.  However, also included are regulars Detective Joe Cardona and Commissioner Weston.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

One Year Anniversary!

Today marks the one year anniversary of this Shadow blog.  I've been a fan of The Shadow for a little over a year and it has been a lot of fun writing and sharing about it here.

I sincerely thank each and every person who has taken time out of their day to read and take a look at my blog.  I hope you find it entertaining and informative!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Shadow Comics #11 - The Shadow Becomes Invisible

One area of The Shadow that I haven't had much opportunity to look into is The Shadow comics.  But I was looking at some of the covers to Shadow Comics and something on the cover of issue #11 caught my eye.  At the bottom left corner it states, "The Shadow shows in pictures how he becomes invisible!"  That immediately got my attention and new I had to dig into that!

I did some research and was able to determine that in Shadow Comics #11 (on sale April 25, 1941*) it is the first time in the comic series that The Shadow makes himself invisible just as he does on the radio show!  Prior to issue #11, The Shadow was more like the character from the pulps, using concealment and his cloak to hide.  But now in Shadow Comics #11, we have a turning point where The Shadow takes on the powers to cloud men's minds as he does on the radio show!  (Keep in mind that The Shadow radio show had just begun to air 4 years earlier in 1937.)  On a personal note, I think it's pretty cool how Vernon Greene drew The Shadow in light blue to indicate he's invisible!  

The first time The Shadow becomes invisible in Shadow Comics!

I was also able to find that in Shadow Comics #12 (on sale June 27, 1941*) The Shadow says he learned his powers in Tibet!  Now this is a little different from the radio show in which Lamont Cranston learned his powers in the Temple of The Cobras in India (from the radio show The Temple Bells of Neban).  

This was a lot of fun to research and I hope to be able to include more information in the near future about Shadow Comics.  

*According to Mike's Amazing World of Comics

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A Brief Look At The Shadow's Sanctum

I'm a fairly new Shadow fan (having read my first Shadow story last year!) and I'm intrigued by The Shadow's sanctum.  I read the story Gray Fist yesterday and The Shadow's sanctum plays a big role in the story.  But what I really liked was from the first few paragraphs of the second chapter, that's where we are given an awesomely eerie description of The Shadow's sanctum.  Here it is:

The Shadow's sanctum is in a secret location in Manhattan.  As the description above states, it is a veritable vault!  The sanctum is where The Shadow works, communicates with Burbank, and also where he keeps his archives.  As I read more Shadow stories I'll learn more about the sanctum.  

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Press Kit for the 1994 The Shadow Movie

Here's a look at the official press kit for the 1994 The Shadow movie.  I was able to find a nice copy at a decent price and couldn't pass it up!

The press kit comes in a black folder with The Shadow and Universal on the cover.

There are 3 booklets (8 1/2 X 11) inside the folder.  These have the Universal logo in the upper left corner and The Shadow logo in the center.

Cast and Credits gives a detail list of everyone from the actors to the companies that provided the visual and special effects.

About The Shadow was written by David Chute and gives a background of The Shadow from the pulps to the radio show.  It's 9 pages of great information!

Production Information gives a synopsis of the film and brief biographies of the principle actors and crew (director, etc.).  I like this part from the first page, "This latest incarnation of The Shadow remains true to its pulp and radio roots, putting a contemporary spin on the best-remembered elements of the original."

The final part of the press kit is photos!  They are all black and white glossy prints with The Shadow logo on the bottom center and a brief description on the bottom right.  Here are a few examples.

The Shadow press kit was well put together.  If anyone wasn't familiar with the character, the press kit would have been a good introduction to him.  If you're a fan of The Shadow, and especially of the 1994 movie, I recommend getting a copy of it for your collection!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

A Shadow Short-Film

I ran across an awesome short-film made recently.  It's title is "The Shadow - A Modern Take on a Classic Comic Book Series."  The film runs a little over 20 minutes and I enjoyed every minute.

I won't go into much detail so as not to spoil it for you, but the film revolves around Harry Cranston, son of Margo and Lamont Cranston.  He has some of his dad's powers and his smoking automatics!  It's a good plot and an interesting story, especially to have it about The Shadow's son.  Another surprise is Martin Kove is in the film, I really like him as an actor.  

The link to this movie is below - hope you enjoy it!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Two Big Reveals in Cry Shadow!

I recently read the Belmont paperback Cry Shadow! published in 1965.  I'm reviewing my notes and will be writing up a full review - hopefully this week!  But there were 2 big reveals in the book I couldn't wait to share, so here they are!

1.  We learn a little bit more about Lamont Cranston's past as it is revealed that he served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War 2!  The OSS was an intelligence gathering organization and the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).  I'll fill in more details when I do my review of Cry Shadow! and will also need to update the biography of The Shadow from the Belmont paperback series.

2.  The Shadow uses the Henry Arnaud disguise/alter-ego in Cry Shadow!  Shadow fans probably recognize the Henry Arnaud name as it was one used by The Shadow in the pulp stories.  However, this is the first time it's been used in The Shadow Belmont series.  

I've taken pages of notes on Cry Shadow! and my goal is to have a full review of it by the end of this week.  But as a Shadow fan, I couldn't wait to share these two big reveals!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Shadow Movie Tie-Ins

I wanted to share some great articles and resources I've found on tie-ins to the 1994 The Shadow movie.  I didn't know many of these items existed!  When The Shadow movie premiered in 1994, I was in the Air Force stationed overseas, so I don't remember ever seeing any of the toys or even the movie!  

Here's a great article by Hoju Koolander that looks at toys, watches and clothing tied in to The Shadow movie!  It was quite a coincidence when I found Hoju's article and then he happened to find one of my tweets on Twitter around the same time!  (If you're on Twitter, give him a follow!)  
The Shadow: Rare 90's Merchandise

One of my favorite Shadow websites is  Here is the link to the sites page on promotional items, toys, etc. from The Shadow movie.
The Shadow Movie Memorabilia

The Virtual Toy Chest has some pictures of The Shadow action figures and vehicles.
Virtual Toy Chest's The Shadow Archive

Movie Tie-In Toys blog has some good background information on the movie and some of the toys.
The Shadow 1994 Kenner

Hope you find these sites helpful, informative and entertaining!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Shadow's Transformation

One thing that has always mystified me about the 1994 The Shadow movie concerns Lamont Cranston's transformation into The Shadow.  The first time we see The Shadow, it's like what we see on the covers of his pulp magazines - hawk-like nose, black slouch hat, black cloak, etc.  

Then we see him as a disheveled Lamont Cranston in the back seat of Moe's cab (after dropping Dr. Tam off at home) and orders Moe to take him to the Cobalt Club.  Gone is the hawk-like nose!

Why does Lamont Cranston transform into The Shadow?  I have been reading through the official movie magazine and other articles on the background of the movie to find something definitive but to no avail.  So here is my working theory on why Cranston transforms into The Shadow.  My theory goes to the time Cranston is taken captive and meets the Tulku, the mystic teacher who dwells in the Temple of the Cobra.  There the Tulku tells Cranston, "I also know that for as long as you can remember, you struggled against your own black heart and always lost. You watched your spirit, your very face change as the beast claws its way out from within you. You are in great pain, aren't you?  You know what evil lurks in the hearts of men, for you have seen that evil in your own...I will teach you to use your black shadow to fight evil." (Emphasis added)

Based on what the Tulku says, it is Cranston's struggle with his own evil, his own black heart, that causes a physical transformation.  In the past, that transformation led to evil acts.  But in his years of training with the Tulku, Cranston still goes through that physical transformation, but now he harnesses it for good!

That's my theory on why Lamont Cranston transforms into The Shadow.  On a side note, the movie comes very close to how The Shadow is portrayed in the 1960's Belmont Book Shadow series.  In that series, Lamont Cranston must put on the slouch hat, cloak, and girasol ring to become The Shadow and have full use of all the powers of the mind that he learned from a mystic teacher in the Orient.  I wonder if the Belmont Books had any influence on this part of the movie!?!?

A description of The Shadow from Belmont Books "The Shadow Strikes"

While I will always prefer The Shadow of the pulp stories, I really like the different shades and tones of his character in the 1994 movie.  My theory could be completely wrong but it was fun trying to piece it together.  If you have your own theory on why Cranston transforms into The Shadow, I'd love to hear it!

Friday, July 6, 2018

The Shadow Merchandise!

I just found out that Conde Nast has an online store where you can buy The Shadow merchandise!  From what I've seen, they also have merchandise for Doc Savage.  They have a collection of The Shadow coffee mugs, t-shirts, prints, etc.  Click here for a look at the coffee mugs (one of them is pictured below)!

Now I know where I'm going to direct my family to do their Christmas shopping for me this year!!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

24th Anniversary of The Shadow Movie

Today, July 1, is the 24th anniversary of the 1994 The Shadow movie that starred Alec Baldwin and Lamont Cranston/The Shadow and Penelope Ann Miller as Margo Lane!

The Shadow movie opened in 1,677 theaters and was the #2 movie for its opening weekend, coming in behind The Lion King which was in its second week.  The Shadow brought in $11,713,845 during its opening weekend!

Unfortunately, it didn't sustain its opening weekend momentum and the movie's run in theaters only lasted 4 weeks.  It brought in $32,063,435 domestic and  $16,000,000 overseas.  At its widest release, it was in 1,769 theaters.

Being a Shadow fan for only about a year now I must say that I really love this movie.  It captures the right blend of The Shadow from the pulps and The Shadow from the radio show.  And, it is sooo much better than the black and white Shadow movies that came before it!  The way I see it, the producers for the film had to walk a line between pleasing long-time Shadow fans and attracting people that had never heard of The Shadow.  The movie incorporated parts from the pulps (The Shadow's agents, his cloak, slouch hat, etc.) and the radio show (the lovely Margo Lane).  

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Some Observations About the 1994 The Shadow Movie

I was watching The Shadow movie a few days ago and noticed some thing that I hadn't seen before and some things that I thought were interesting.  Here they are.

I noticed that the very first time Lamont Cranston appears on the screen, he is totally engulfed in the shadows.  I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, but I hadn't really paid attention to it until now.  I think it's interesting that he begins in the shadows and then becomes The Shadow!

I also noticed there are two tattoos on the fingers of his left hand.  This is the only time I see them, when Lamont Cranston becomes The Shadow, I don't think they appear.  I've done a little bit of checking to see if the symbols might have been taken from one of The Shadow pulps or what they mean, and so far have come up with nothing!  My guess is they say Ying Ko, but I could be wrong!

We know The Shadow has a network of agents.  In the beginning of the movie we see how The Shadow rescues Dr. Roy Tam and makes him an agent.  But throughout the movie we see other agents that pop up here and there.  Here's one of them, a police officer from the 26th precinct.  Notice he has an agent ring on his finger.  

The Shadow's agent from the 26th precinct delivers his message into the mail slot of an office door marked "B. Jonas."  This is directly from the pulps and was a fantastic touch to the movie!

Here's a shot of the report the police officer sent to Burbank.  I thought this was pretty cool and it makes me think of how Burbank, in the pulps and in this move, collects reports from other agents and passes the information on to The Shadow.  I love the last sentence, "Agent advises inquiry."

These are just a few observations and comments, hopefully I'll have more in the next coming weeks!